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April 24, 1998     The Message
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The Message k for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana i Breakfast u,ith Jesus: The commissioning of Simon By FATHER DONALD DILGER Columnist Gospel Commentary for April 26, 1998: Third Sunday Of Easter: Cycle C: John 21:1-19 The Gospel of John seems to have ended origi- nally with chapter twenty with a fitting conclusion stating the purpose of the whole book, faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God and eternal life that results from that faith. The whole of chapter twenty- one, from which today's gospel is taken, must have been conceived as a response to questions or prob- lems not sufficiently treated in the original gospel, a kind of appendix to the gospel. The chief topic of this added chapter is the role of Simon Peter, his commissioning, and his relationship to an unnamed disciple in the Gospel of John, usually called "the one whom Jesus loved." This final chapter closes with a statement about the connection of this unnamed disciple with the Gospel of John, and a conclusion similar to the original conclusion in chapter twenty. Since the gospel had already concluded, the author connects this new material with the statement that "Jesus revealed himself once more to the disci- ples on the Sea of Galilee... in this way." Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael and the two sons of Zebedee went fishing. They fished all night but caught nothing. At dawn, Jesus was standing on the beach. He asked if they caught anything. We can see some irritation in the briefest of answers, "No!" He tells them to cast their net to the right of the boat. They comply. The net is filled with fish. Not Simon Peter, but the "one whom Jesus loved" now recog- nizes Jesus and informs Peter, who jumps into the water, while the other disciples come along in the boat dragging the net filled with fish. They had breakfast with Jesus, prepared by him. After break- fast Jesus calls Simon Peter aside. Twice he asks him, "Do you love me?" Peter answers twice in the affir- mative. When Jesus asks a third time, Peter is offend- ed, and replies, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you!" After each question Jesus responds with either "Feed my lambs,"-or "Feed my sheep." Then Jesus adds a mysterious statement about Peter's future martyrdom. We might wish that our gospels, the catechisms of early Christianity, had been cast in the same mold as our Baltimore catechism, i.e. questions and answers. Instead we have stories about Jesus and his disciples. That is how instruction was given in the Church almost 2,000 years ago. Now we have to search those stories for the teaching they were intend- ed to convey. The teaching of today's gospel must have been concerned with the role of Simon Peter in the Church. Everything in this story centers on Peter, who was surely long dead when this gospel was written. We know that there were splinter groups and divisions already in early Christianity. We see this already in St. Paul's letters in the fifties. We see it in Matthew and Luke in the eighties and in the Gospel of John in the nineties. Matthew and Luke have their own way of demonstrating that it was the will of Jesus to place Simon Peter in charge. In Matthew he is given "the keys of the kingdom of heaven" In Luke he is made the chief fisherman and at the Last Supper Jesus declares him the "strengthener" of his brethren. Today's gospel reading is John's version. Jesus is shepherd-vicar of Jesus. Some details of John's teaching: the disciples of Jesus catch nothing without Jesus. Only at his com- mand is the net filled with fish. The emphasis on the number of fish so large that the net was expected to tear but held together is.a pointed reference to the sad fact that in John's Christian was fracturing. John's readers with the symbolism of food ings of Jesus in chapter six of the the disciples reach shore it is J, breakfast and "he took the bread and and so with the fish." Both teachings the Christian community (the fish) are to the Christian community, the At this point John leaves of fishermen and fish sheep symbolism. Again Peter. Jesus asks him three Peter responds with a triple Jesus. After each response J feed the flock. The triple question andt response is the Hebrew way of superlative. For example, holiness of God, the expression but "holy, holy, holy." Peter, publicly denied that he even kneW trayed as having ultimate loyalty Triple commissioning of Peter is sion of his primacy. While all the gospels affirm none gives explicit instructions on how is to continue after Peter's death. It that this story of Peter' s and proposed to a Church Peter's death. This indicates that saw the wherever that office was tion, in a legitimate and ment of tradition, places that office' Rome. Readings: Acts 5:27b-32, ...... 14, John 21:1-14. SAVIN Golden Jubilarians James and Helen (Hilgenhold) Franks of Evansville will cele- brate their fiftieth wedding anniversary May 3. They were mar- fled May 4, 1948, at St. Paul Rectory in Tell City. They are the parents of four children: Jo Lynn Adams, Patricia Flake and Michael Franks, all of Evansville, and Martha Yurow of Louisville. They have eight grandchildren. Mr. Franks is retired from Sears. Mrs. Franks works at Siemers Glass. ii i i i iii DUBOIS COUNTY BANK MEMBER OLD NATIONAL BANCORP Member FDIC YOUR FIVE STAR SERVICE BANK iii ] i i i i Golden Jubilorions Virgil and Dorena (Beck) Schnaus of Ireland will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 10:30 a.m. May 3 at St. Mary Church, Ireland. A family dinner will follow. They were married May 1,1948, at St. Joseph Church, Jasper. Father Ralph Endress officiated. They are the parents of six children: Stan and Doug, both of Ireland, and Darlene Ober, Marcia Knies, Sheryl Temple, all of Jasper. Their son, Joe, is deceased. They have 12 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. ii i i Homes ii Four Convenient Locations HIGHLAND CHAPEL 6300 FIRST AVENUE i / AnY J 4